An Open Letter to Gov. Perry
Dear Governor Perry,
As you proceed from New Hampshire to visit the state of South Carolina and beyond, there will be increasing calls for you to drop out of the presidential election. As a resident of Georgia, I can tell you there are many of us who would like to vote for you on our own primary date in March. We cannot vote for you if you drop out of the race early. I write not only as a Georgian, but also as an ordained clergyman, a high school Latin teacher, and a fellow officer in the United States Air Force. I write to you as an academic. I write to you as someone who has worked as a cashier in a grocery store. We Georgians cannot vote for you if you leave the field early. Please stay in the race!
I have many avenues from which I might appeal to you to stay in the race, but I primarily want to speak to you officer to officer, Airman to Airman. I do not pretend to speak for all Airmen, but I do intend to speak as an Airman with certain core values. When we swore that oath of office upon joining the Air Force, we promised the following:
“I, (state your name), having been appointed a (rank) in the United States Air Force, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
You know well that we have enemies both foreign and domestic, and that our Constitution and our way of life our under assault from both. As a former pilot of the venerable C-130 Hercules, you know the importance of a steady hand, of endurance, of the ability to soldier on in completion of the mission at hand, even when the mission is long and wearisome. I will always have a special place in my heart for the C-130; as a newly minted officer, I watched the C-130 slowly but steadily fly overhead as the fly-over at my graduation from officer training school. I have criss-crossed swathes of the country in that air plane, experiencing for only brief hours what the crew men encounter on it every day: blistering heat when she rests on the runway between flights, bitter cold as she cruises the skies, and the constant hum of what we in the Air Force have affectionately called the Four Fans of Freedom. You and I share those core values which the Air Force has adopted: integrity first, service before self, excellence in all that we do. It takes integrity to admit when you have made a mistake, something you have readily done in the case of the mandated vaccines in Texas, and something which many other candidates seem utterly unwilling to do. It requires a certain selflessness and commitment to service to fly the C-130 Hercules, for though she is reliable and tough, no one would call her glamorous. It takes excellence to govern the mighty state of Texas for ten years and guide that state into prosperity while the rest of the country suffers.
In today’s election, we do not need the hot shot fighter pilot who relies heavily on instinct, and we must do away with the slick politicians and executives who will say anything to get elected and shift their values on the basis of what offices they seek or what polls reveal. We need the sort of person who pilots the C-130: reliable, steady, tough in opposition and versatile in core competencies. So, again, I beseech you to stay in the race for President so that your message can reach the entire country over the next six months.
We don’t need a secular version of Luther’s 95 Theses, nor vague promises with little hope of passing Congress. I urge you to distill your message to four key points, much like the four fans of the C-130.
1) Fix our tax code. Our tax code is full of loopholes. Your tax code, much like Coolidge’s tax plan in the 1920s, will reduce the overall tax burden but lead to greater revenue from increased productivity among businesses and among our citizenry.
2) Return power to the states. The government which governs best governs least. We trust that Texans know what is best for Texas, Georgians for Georgia, and even Californians for California. Let them succeed or fail based on their individual merits. We trust that each state knows best how to meet its energy needs and care for its environment. We trust that each state knows best how to educate its children to succeed in an increasingly global economy. We trust that each state can manage its finances, or to face the consequences if finances are mismanaged. We trust states to manage their own retirement programs. Galveston’s retirement program in your own state of Texas is wildly successful. Why not encourage other states to follow suit? Why not pursue such a program for our own federal employees?
3) Energize our economy. Your plan to open our energy reserves for consumption and sale will vitalize several state economies. We need only look to South Dakota’s incredibly low unemployment to see proof of it. Your plan allows our friends to sell us energy and supports independence from those who fund the actions of our enemies. Best of all, your plan requires precious little involvement from Congress.
4) Ensure our national security. Congress has just decided to gut the Department of Defense, sending the men and women of our armed services to join millions of others in the unemployment line and weakening our ability to defend ourselves and secure our interests abroad. This restrained approach to defense has failed again and again. It failed catastrophically in the early stages of bombing in World War II. It failed in the Vietnam War. It failed the early stages of our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a strategy of weakness, and it involves leaving us vulnerable abroad while we continue to fund wasteful entitlement programs at home.
In sum, we desire to be FREE. Bring the Four Fans of Freedom to Georgia. Bring them to the rest of America. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail.
(Author’s note — I very seldom become agitated or motivated enough to write something like this, and I’m somewhat relieved that it’s pseudonymous for what I feel are rather obvious reasons. Having said that, I beseech you: Be gentle, amabo te, or there will be extra years in Purgatory in your future. :>)